30 May 2007

the mystery of inaction

As I grow older (and therefore wiser), one thing becomes a bigger and bigger mystery for me: why do so many people seem content to sit on their asses and never exert even a tiny handful of calories toward the effort of actually Finding Their Bliss?

It's one thing to encounter obstacles and perhaps even be stymied by them, but more common is the situation where someone claims to want something—some dream or fantasy of a happy life—and then never does anything to help make that dream a reality.

I've had variations of this same conversation with several friends in recent months: talking to pals who posssess some great talent or ability and claim to have some golden dream they intend to pursue, but who—when it comes right down to it—will never do a damned thing.

I find this tragic and sad. Given the rewards versus the cost, what the hell is so daunting about putting your comfort on the line once or twice a year? What's so paralyzingly scary about trying?

Screenwriting as a career is slightly less farfetched than "professional lottery winner," yet it becomes infinitely more farfetched when you refuse even to commit yourself to a serious effort at success. Similarly, it's a lot harder to be a successful photographer or architect or pearl diver or asteroid farmer or whatever if you just sit at home and piss and moan about how much you want that dream and how hard it is to make that dream come true and how many obstacles exist to make that dream such a difficult proposition.

Life is a rock, sweeheart: it's hard and it's rough. It's supposed to be, as if it was anything less it would hardly be worth living in the first damned place.

Increasingly, I find I have little patience for or interest in people I identify as "all talk and no action." There are those who help push the game forward, and then there is that other 90% of the population who'd rather just sit in the stands and watch, and maybe cheer, and possibly criticize and judge despite having never once had the cajones to gear up and enter the game for even a single snap, a single pitch, a single trip down the court.

I've got stuff I intend to do in this life. I'll either make it happen or I will die in the honest effort.

Those who remain content to do nothing... to dream nothing, to dare nothing, to want nothing... confound and confuse me.

22 May 2007

when the bullet hits the bone

So it's been three weeks since last I posted here.

Sue me.

Life has remained an insane cascade of competing events and obligations. Kid events, kid illness, dentists, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, end of year parties and school functions, dance recitals, yard work, birthday parties, prepping for birthday parties, cleaning up after birthday parties, plus the incredible time and energy spent on little league coaching... oy. I'm ready for some sort of break, but now I look up and realize that I have something like 9 days left in which to tie up the half-written bundle of words and ideas that is my current script project if I am to have ANY hope of getting it in to the contest for the Austin Film Festival.

Speaking of baseball, last night my guys got eliminated from the playoffs. I've always sworn I'll not whine and whimper in public about something as inconsequential as the results of a little league game, but it's been an incredibly frustrating season in many regards. On the one hand I was blessed with the most talented team I've ever had—might ever have—but on the other hand this team has also been subjected to some of the worst weather luck and a slew of the dumbest/laziest decisions by clumsy league officials... my guys hung tough throughout it, but eventually I knew there woiuld come a time when patience, endurance, and luck would all abandon us at the same time, and last night was that moment. In a game we should never have been scheduled to play, my guys played just badly enough at key moments to lose to a team that they outplayed and should have beaten easily.

Bottom line: season over, load lifted, life goes on.

Now I have to kick serious ass in teh writing department in order to realize some goals I set for myself at the start of the year, and after THAT series of goals is met I already have ANOTHER set lined up on the runway, idling and cleared for immediate takeoff. It's a tremendously exciting time, as I suddenly have something like a half dozen ideas and projects rumbling which all seem to have serious potential and interest and viability. The key issue will be time.

Austin Film Festival contest entry and festival reservations are due soon, and I'm already starting to get wound up by that. Old friends are making the return, and some friends are this year going to be in an unusual position: rather than in teh civilian audience, some will likely be badged as working pros, and I am already threatening them with the embarrassingly naive and inane and stupid questions I intend to subject them to.

Current project list and status:

LILYA — I still love this impossible project, as do most folks who've read it. I wish I could make some money off the number of times I've heard "love it, and wish I had 100 million to produce it." But I can't. Nor can I yet find an effective way to get the damned thing to the sorts of players who might be able to prove useful in pushing this beast a few feet closer to consideration for production.

AMAZON — after a year of no real action, this project has some minor spark of new life as we (the co-writers) reached an agreement whereby we're both now cleared to independently develop and submit our own versions of the story we came up with. I have little doubt that the two "competing" stories will soon be so different as to make comparisons moot, but I volunteered some solutions which should help preclude any overly easy comparisons and intereference between the eventual two versions. Bottom line, it seems a fair and amicable separation of property, and leaves us both free to do what we each feel is right and proper by the story. "We shall see."

[SPAGHETTI WESTERN THING] — An odd project which continues to haunt me. One day I love the strange forced mixing of two disparate genres, and other days I look at it and think "I'm building a project doomed on two fronts." What parts I have written I love, and what I deas I intened to roll in I also love, but for various reasons it might wind up again stored until I get a clearer sense of the "do-ability" of the thing.

[COMEDY HORROR THING] — yes, it has a title (and a good one, at that), and a tagline (and a fucking great one, at that), but still I keep this one shrouded in mystery as those elements are so much fun that to share them at all spoils the fun of the eventual reveal when the script is done. This is teh current #1 priority, and the one I am most eager to get ready to read as it has lots of those commercial sorts of elements that give a newbie spec work the best fighting chance for production. A few producers have sparked when pitched the premise, and I hope they enjoy the finished product in a few weeks.

[EPIC HISTORICAL POPCORN FLICK] — this one is on hold while the stink of a damnably semi-similar turd fades from memory. I still love the premise, the characters, and many many of teh cool moments I've imagined and outlined, and some great scenes have already been written, but given that this is another of those projects that would be too expensive for a newbie to seriously suggest be filmed, this one stays in the Dream Locker for that magical happy day when I have Credibility and Experience and Bankability and such. Yeah, sounds funny when I say it, too.

[BIZARRE FROM LEFT FIELD IDEA] — still no details to share other than "there is an intriguing opportunity requiring my participation" and "if it works, it could be instant entreĆ© into the pro ranks." For various reasons the expected rush of creative work on this has been postponed for a few weeks (until other various components are free to be brought to bear... and yes that is cryptic but intentionally so), but work has been done, folks seem interested and ready to receive, and this will be a major issue of attention this summer.

[OTHER NEW OFFER] — a longtime pal suggested the kernel of a story to me which is, in a stretch, loosely inspired by some comments and experiences I've shared. It's not autobiographical in any sense, but more like "extrapolating upon a fanciful impossibly farfetched fairy tale of an idea" but one which could—if done well—have tremendous commercial appeal and bankability. Again, the two issues to watch are TIME and MY ABILITY TO WORK AND PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. I have been known, on occasion, to have a "strong personality" of the sort that sometimes proves difficult for some folks to live with for extended periods of time. I'm not a bastard, per se, but I can be moody and cantankerous and bombastic and perhaps even a touch arrogant and off-putting, so we'll see how this goes.

Roll in a alf dozen other oddball ideas and dreams that always seem to drift through the scene and that pretty much brings you up to speed.

I'd say more, but I really oughta be working.